When your album is one of the most anticipated releases on the indie rock calendar, you can afford to take a few risks with your choice of a lead single. Vancouver’s Mother Mother decided to take that risk with the upbeat party anthem “The Stand,” off their new album Eureka. Frontman/guitarist Ryan Guldemond muses that “with a song like ‘The Stand,’ it’s either gonna bomb or explode, and I think when you’re a band who’s anticipated it’s good to take that risk and not just put out the safe option. That was kind of our motive in putting ‘The Stand’ out as the single, because it is a misleading track on the record.”
It’s not a complete departure, however. The song is heavy with the kind of quirky hooks, layered vocal harmonies and catchy beats the band—which also features keyboardists Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, bassist Jeremy Page and drummer Ali Siadat—are known for. It’s the tricky wordplay within the jam, however, that takes the tune to another level.
Fortunately, their risk seems to have paid off. At the time of this writing, “The Stand” is climbing both Billboard’s Canadian Hot 100 and the BDS Top 40 Canadian Rock National Airplay charts. Not bad for a band that hardly matches the stereotypical “Theory of a NickelFault” CanCon sound that dominates commercial rock radio. It’s especially impressive considering that the track was never originally intended to be a song, let alone a single. “It was a farcical conversation I was inventing on the bus,” Guldemond reveals. “I worked on it for many years, actually, with no grand plans to make it a song or a single or whatever.”
In the song, a playful back and forth takes place between a man and a couple of girls.
Girls: Tell me your weakness.
Man: Oh, I keep it a secret.
Girls: Oh come on, just one vice.
Man: All right, it’s vodka on ice.
But then there’s women on bikes,
or just the women who straddle.
Girls: Oh now you are a handful.
Man: I forgot about handfuls.
While “The Stand” initially began as a set of lyrics, Guldemond says he usually tends to start with a melody and lets the rest of the song rise up out of it.
“I try to find the words that want to attach themselves to the melody and the syllables that are starting to appear,” he says. “It’s a strange process and I’m surprised anything coherent comes out of it, but I find it kind of fun and educational and self-involved and observational. Who knows where it comes from?”
Eureka, the band’s third album, was produced by Guldemond over the course of almost a year. “We usually don’t take that long, but it was kind of nice to ruminate before it gets all crazy,” he says. “Songwriting started quite a while prior, and you kind of hang on to little motifs and ideas over the years and inevitably they find their way onto the current record.”
While songs often start with an idea from Guldemond, the whole band is involved in the creative process. This time around the group undertook an extensive demoing process rather than work things out in the studio like they did in the past.
“We made these elaborate demos so we could really have a clear idea of our parts,” Guldemond explains. “Instead of fumbling around in the studio, we could tap into how we emotionally wanted them to come out.”
Just as the band’s devoted followers are already rubbing their hands in anticipation of Eureka, Mother Mother can’t wait to hit the road. “We’re itching to get back out there and get to work,” Guledemond quips.
Having kicked off the first round of touring last month with a jaunt down the West Coast, the band is gearing up to play both Canadian Music Week in Toronto and Austin, Texas’ South by Southwest conference this month. And that’s just the start.
“We’re doing a big Canadian tour in April, which will be great,” Guldemond explains. “It’s a headlining tour and it’s been a while since we’ve been able to gauge where we’re at in every Canadian market because we’ve often opened for other bands or done the festival stuff.”